Save for penning down notes, the Apple Pencil may not strike you as a full-on musical controller. Apple has done nothing to leverage the pencil’s potential as means of musical output. But where there’s possibility, there’s always someone clever enough to figure out how to take advantage of it.
Developer Dimos Gaidatzis created Pen2Bow, an EUR 9 app that turns the Apple Pencil into a violin bow MIDI controller. The algorithm detects linear and circular motion and translates it into virtual arc motion. Circular movements create an “infinite extension” of the arc, which makes it possible to change direction when adjusting the bow. Direction changes are converted into MIDI data.
According to the developer, the “Infinite Arc Controller” is usable for all kinds of instruments which support MIDI input and isn’t limited to just stringed ones. In case you are wondering why the Apple Pencil may be superior to regular touch-screen input, the device has a very high input resolution. And, by virtue of the app, is able to generate four MIDI controller streams from touch strength, pressure, inclination, and orientation to the iPad (the iPhone doesn’t support the Apple Pencil).
The software features Velocity, Force, Tilt, and Orientation adjustment sliders. It also has a pretty rad visualization that follows your pencil input. Overall, this is a mighty interesting piece of work that turns the EUR 99 digital pencil into a legitimate MIDI controller. Now that Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad supports Apple Pencil input and is so affordable, the more experimentally-minded among you might consider this option.